This week, Billboard is celebrating the music of 20 years ago with a week of content about the most interesting artists, albums, songs, and stories from 1998. Here, Billboard asks musicians to look back on what one of the era’s most seminal albums -- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill -- means to them.
They don’t really make 'em like this anymore. And, truthfully, they didn’t really make 'em like this back then, either. By 1998, Lauryn Hill was already a star with the Fugees, but the release of her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, turned her into an icon, showcased her visionary talents as the sole writer-producer on almost every track, and taught a generation about the power of baring your soul through song. At the time of its release, she was barely 23 years old; within a few months, though, she’d set then-records for first-week sales by a female artist, clean up at the Grammys, and take over the world with blockbuster singles like “Doo Wop (That Thing).”
Today, the album lives on -- not just in the songs that sample it, or Hill’s own 20th anniversary tour scheduled for later this year, but in the artists who grew up with it, lived with it, and now make music that’s been shaped by it in big and small ways. Below, Billboard asked 16 artists -- from rappers and soul singers to pop stars and beyond -- to pay tribute to each song on the album, and share how Lauryn Hill’s masterpiece inspired and influenced them.